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One in seven private renters living without basic essentials

  • 12/06/2019

New analysis from anti-poverty charity Turn2us has revealed as many as 15% of private renters, living on or below the average national household income, are living without a fridge, freezer, cooker or washing machine.

Living without such essential household items has extremely negative effects on the financial, physical and emotional wellbeing of tenants, including:

  • Facing extra costs of over £1,000 a year due to using a laundrette instead of a washing machine in the home
  • The health implications of living without a cooker and not being able to make fresh, healthier, home cooked food
  • Damaging the mental health of adults who are ‘stressed’ and ‘feel like a failure’, as well as the mental health of children, who may get bullied at school.​

“Being without my [washing] machine impacts negatively on my daily life. I find that my depression gets worse, as I see myself as worthless and living a life full of poverty and deprivation and not worthy to have even basic furniture such as curtains and basic washing appliances like ‘normal people’. Then I don’t even want to get out of bed because I know my day is going to be one big struggle.”

“It means I can’t buy cheap food, I can’t cook and freeze food, I can’t buy frozen food. I can’t buy discounted food and freeze it. I can’t buy ice cream and lollies for my children.”

“Added stress, which affects my health and my children’s health both physically and mentally, they worry we don’t have enough money to pay for food, heating, bills etc.”

“Just makes everything more difficult.”

Of the 4.5 million renting households in the UK, as many as 675,000 are living in homes without basic household appliances, while paying extortionate rents. Results from Turn2us’ survey found that:

  • 4% are living without a fridge
  • 14% are living without a freezer
  • 9% are living without a cooker
  • 12% are living without a washing machine.

Many of the private renters that Turn2us has spoken to say that they cannot afford to equip their landlords’ properties with white goods, so they either live without, end up resorting to using exploitative high-cost-credit firms and getting into significant debt, or worse, risk using faulty appliances.

Turn2us supports thousands of people each year by providing grants for white goods or signposting to other charities who offer similar support. Turn2us is calling on anyone struggling financially and living without to get in touch with the charity and explore the possibilities of other forms of support available before resorting to credit.

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said:

“Renters have long had to endure exploitation in the form of high rents and low living standards, but there is now an endemic problem of living without essential household items.

“Every renter should have the ability to store food, cook dinner and wash their clothes, without having to go into debt, risk their safety or damage their mental and physical health.

“We are calling on landlords to provide the essentials, policy makers to develop new protections and charities to get involved in this campaign. Together we can work towards ensuring every home for rent is equipped with the essentials needed to help people live with dignity.

Turn2us will continue to research the dynamics of these critical challenges and their causes in 2019 and will release a full report into living without essential household appliances in September.

Find out more about the campaign.